This is my second year where I have celebrated the season of Advent. This 1600 year old Christian tradition is designed to be a breath of fresh air for those who seek to follow and grow with Christ. It was only recently when I saw the gift that this Advent season can be for myself and my family.

The chaos of Christmas time. 
Unless you live in North Dakota you have experienced the ridiculously chaotic speed of our culture during the preceding weeks leading up to Christmas. It is the social norm to be frazzled and to live off of quadruple shots of espresso. Christmas morning finally arrives after watching Christmas vacation for the 87th time, many hours of shopping, hours more of sitting in traffic after leaving the place we just shopped, several parties with people we don’t really know and an unwanted friend of 10 lbs around our waist. After the presents are unwrapped, the stockings are emptied, and the cinnamon rolls are eaten, we are left with this unsettling question in our soul, “was that it?” It’s like that morning after hangover minus an evening with Mr. Jack Daniel’s.

Advent is the remedy to avoid the Christmas blues. It is a rhythm in this season that if done correctly can produce gratitude and joy in us that only the Spirit of Christ can give. Advent is designed to create space in our lives to point us to the substance of Jesus and not primarily to the good gifts that he has given us.

What is the Advent challenge?
In considering how beneficial Advent has become for me, I want to propose a dare to you. I dare you to take what I am calling the Advent Challenge. Advent is celebrated the four weeks leading up to Christmas, so in these four weeks my dare is for you to choose to create space to intentionally celebrate this season. I am convinced that if you create space for Advent, you will leave Christmas morning with a satisfaction in your soul that even the most expensive gift couldn't give you.

How to celebrate Advent?
There are many ways to celebrate Advent. My wife and I are going to partake in Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree. We will also be reading through Sojourn church’s advent guide and John Piper’s Advent devotional. Above all things, Advent is a test for me to guard my heart. I can read all of these things, but if I don’t guard my affections, Advent will not increase my joy in Christ. My prayer for my family and for you is that Advent will become a means to awaken fresh love for Christ by His Spirit. To read more about Advent, click here